Today I celebrate my eldest sons birthday, he is 25 years old. I thought the day would feel joyous but instead I reflected and cried.
My tears are for all my struggles and adversity that I have faced. It was 25 years ago that I was made homeless, kicked out of the family home for being pregnant. I was told to leave my family home one week after turning 18. I left the house with only the clothes I was wearing. I cried all the way up the street to the bus stop where I continued to cry. I cried so much I missed the next 3 buses, I just sat there balling my eyes with no composure and unsure what to do. Having finally calmed down I bused to my friends house to ask for a bed for the night. She agreed I could stay, but her flat mates were not happy and voiced their opinions. They didn’t want a pregnant teen who had no money staying. That night was lonely and the room felt dark and empty. I was hoping the flat mates would change their minds but did not happen.
My wonderful friend was very concerned about my well-being and she suggested an idea for me to live at a home for young pregnant mothers who were willing to give their child up for adoption. It seemed like the only option for me, so off I went and presented myself and my sad story to the charity ladies. Luckily they had one spare bed left. What followed was another lonely night, in a strange and unfamiliar place amongst strangers. Wow, was this it for me, was this my future? No family, no home, no money and no job (I was still at school).
Our daily routine was to be up early, do chores, do more chores and daily anti natal classes followed by more chores. After a few months I was beginning to feel oppressed and isolation by all the rules, the lack of freedom and lack of choice. I was missing my friends and family and wanted to be in familiar surroundings. It dawned on me that I didn’t really want to adopt, so one day I packed my belongings and headed to stay with my closest friend and her family on top of a rather notorious pub. Nights were lively listening to live bands playing till 11pm, followed my bottles being smashed in the car park and fights breaking out. The police wouldn’t dare turn up as they would be outnumbered by the mob outside. I found it all rather exciting and a breath of fresh air after months being confined to the home for young venerable mothers. Her family were so loving and welcoming and never once judged me for my circumstances. But after a while the pub was sold so I had to find elsewhere to live. What followed was months of couch surfing on friends sofas. But being so young meant their own living arrangements of flatting were short lived as friendships were tested and accommodation ended.
But, somehow I would always manage to find another place to sleep except on one occasion. I was so broke I couldn’t afford the bond for my own place, couldn’t afford my own room, had no money to eat, couldn’t get a job and so I was left to taking up any offers possible to get a bed for the night. During the day I would walk endlessly to try and make time pass. Hours and hours of walking randomly with no destination in mind. I would just hope that I’d bump into someone I knew who was willing to help me out. One dark, cold winters night I hadn’t found a bed and faced the reality of nowhere to sleep. Heavily pregnant I was deeply concerned for my unborn child so made the decision to turn up to the family home to ask for help. My sister answered the door. With an unimpressed voice and no welcoming warmth she promptly told me I was not no longer part of the family and could not stay. Dumbfounded and shocked I just stood there and after tense negotiations she allowed me inside, but only for one night and I wasn’t allowed to eat anything. Feeling hurt and cold I run a bath and reflected on how vulnerable I felt and left the next morning hurt and unloved. What was my next t move? Where to from here?
Eventually another aquaintance mentioned she knew of a lovely couple who lost a baby to miscarriage and were wanting to adopt. At this point I was due to give birth in 4-6 weeks and completely homeless, so I thought I’d meet them as I needed a back up plan. They were lovely, natural , down to earth people willing to do an open adoption and help me financially. An added bonus was I could stay with them in their old house-truck by the beach. As my choices were slim I agreed.
The couple were at the birth but my treatment from the nurse was awful. The birth was very quick and over fast. I didn’t get to hold him first which I regret. The couple held him in their arms while I looked on. The nurses thought I was young, dumb and were cold to me as they didn’t agree with the adoption. Obviously the situation was unconventional and maybe I did look like I was young and dumb but no nurse ever treated a new mother without dignity that all mothers deserve.
But something changes inside of you the minute your child is born. An unconditional love fills your soul and deep down you know you would do anything for that child. I now knew for sure I was taking my son home but I wasn’t sure where that was. The couple would visit daily and I could read their facial expression and could tell they were worried I had bonded. On the third day in hospital they asked me if I wanted to keep him but at that stage they already knew the answer. So, for the second time I presented myself and my sad story to the charity ladies and luckily they had one spare bed left.